Milk waiting to be tested sit on shelves in a cooler at the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory in Montgomery, Ala. The laboratory has added a few extra contract workers because of the threat from Japan, officials say. (AP-Yonhap News)
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Very low levels of radiation turned up in a sample of milk from the West Coast state of Washington, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday, but federal officials assured consumers not to worry.
The FDA said such findings were to be expected in the coming days because of the nuclear crisis in Japan, and the levels were expected to drop relatively quickly.
Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power complex began leaking radiation after it was damaged by a devastating earthquake and tsunami this month.
Results from a March 25 milk sample taken from Spokane, Washington, showed levels of radioactive Iodine-131 that were still 5,000 times below levels of concern set by the FDA, including levels set for infants and children.
``Radiation is all around us in our daily lives, and these findings are a miniscule amount compared to what people experience every day,'' said Patricia Hansen, senior scientist at the FDA. ``A person would be exposed to low levels of radiation on a round-trip cross-country flight, watching television, and even from construction materials.''
EPA said it was increasing the level of nationwide monitoring of milk, precipitation and drinking water.
Spokane, a city of 208,000, is more than 300 miles (480 kilometers) east of the Pacific coast. Kim Papich, spokeswoman for the Spokane Regional Health District, said the agency was aware of the EPA report and preparing to issue a statement to residents.
`This is not a major health concern,'' Papich said.
The United States had already halted imports of dairy products and produce from the affected area of Japan. Other foods imported from Japan, including seafood, were still being sold to the public but screened first for radiation.
Japanese foods make up less than 4 percent of all U.S. imports.
The FDA has said it expected no risk to the U.S. food supply from radiation.
<日대지진> "美우유서도 日원전 방사성물질 검출"
미국 우유에서 일본 원전사고에서 유래한 것으로 보이는 방사성 물질이 검출됐다.
미 환경청(EPA)과 식품의약국(FDA)은 태평양 연안의 워싱턴주에서 지난 25일 채 취한 우유에서 미량의 요오드-131이 검출됐다고 30일 밝혔다.
검출량은 FDA 성인.유아 기준치의 5천분의 1 이하로 매우 낮게 나타났다.
FDA는 일본 원전사고 상황을 고려할 때 우유 속 방사성 물질 검출은 예견된 일 이며 농도가 빠르게 떨어질 것이라고 설명했다.
미국 정부는 우유와 음용수, 빗물의 방사능 모니터링을 강화할 계획이다.